Treasure Talk

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Beach hunting with the CTX 3030 - Part 1

May 17, 2012 04:50pm

Gary Drayton
Gary Drayton beach metal detecting with Minelab Sovereign GT metal detector

I was really excited when I heard the news that Minelab had made a new waterproof metal detector and even more excited that I would have the chance to test the new machine. As a long time hardcore beach and shallow water hunter adding a new Minelab machine to my beach treasure hunting arsenal was certainly welcome.

After assembling the new CTX 3030 metal detector the first thing that impressed me was the design and balance of the new machine. I got the feeling that the guys at Minelab had listened to beach and water hunters and taken all the things that we would want in a perfect beach machine and rolled them all into a single package called the CTX 3030.

Garry Drayton using the CTX 3030

Our time spent dreaming of a waterproof screened Minelab metal detector is finally over. As with all innovative Minelab products everything you need to know about your new metal detector before heading out to the beach is contained in the informative manual. With five preset programs to choose from and the automatic ground compensation in this technology the Minelab CTX 3030 metal detector truly is designed to be a turn on and go beach hunting machine.

After first turning on your CTX 3030 the simple start up procedure for beach hunting is to press the main menu button to view the main menu screen, which will give you the choice of five preset programs.

Press the down button to scroll down to the Beach preset program which is Mode 2 and press the main menu button to select the Beach mode. Now you are in the CTX 3030 beach hunting mode and as simple as that you are now ready to search the beach using your new metal detector.

Selecting Beach ModeSelecting Beach Mode

The factory preset Beach mode is an excellent mode to start out using the CTX 3030 on the beach. Using auto sensitivity with the pre selected factory settings allows you to get familiar with the everyday aspects of your new metal detector on the beach without having to deal with manually adjusting your control settings just yet.

With the help of the target cursors and awesome audio target tones, it will not take you very long before you learn where the most common targets found on a beach appear on the detect screen and what the targets sound like.

All good targets on the Beach preset program will be represented in the white non shaded areas on the detect screen with the black Accept Target Cursor, all rejected targets will appear in the shaded out discriminated areas with the red Reject Target Cursor. The targets conductive (Co) and ferrous (Fe) properties will also appear on the detect screen giving you even more information to help with target identification.

Becoming skilled at identifying common beach finds on the detect screen by the location of the cursors on the display and the audio tone will help you when it comes to making custom discrimination patterns and using the Accept/Reject feature on the CTX 3030.

One of the things that really impressed me beach hunting with the CTX 3030 was the smooth transition from the wet sand to the dry sand and vice versa, no false signals or chattering even with waves washing over the search coil. I am really looking forward to sharing my experiences and finds made with the CTX 3030 in future blog posts to help you get up to speed with this exciting new treasure hunting machine.

Use the Beach mode as a foundation to build upon as you learn the many wonderful things that this extraordinary metal detector is capable of doing on the beach and in the shallow water.

Happy hunting!
Gary Drayton


Great post Gary, you make a very good point. With every new detector there is a lot of talk about all the new features, but what is often overlooked is the fact that it is very easy to simply switch on, select a mode and start swinging! I'm looking forward to getting in a lot more hours of beach and shallow water hunting with the CTX 3030, and very excited about using Target Trace to deal with those pesky bottle caps!
Posted By: Nenad on May 17, 2012 10:00pm
Been beaching with an ancient first-model Excalibur which paid for itself the first day out (gold doubloon, unfortunately well-shaved), but my new CTX 3030 promises to replace it inside the surf line. Eager for more information, I note you're wearing different earphones in each picture and that the waterproof earphones you're wearing in the wading pic use a wire to the unit. Would you please elucidate? Also, does the CTX 3030 care whether it's in fresh or salt water? Thanks, Ned.
Posted By: ackned on May 17, 2012 10:59pm
The versatility of the CTX 3030 is amazing and the fact that it is also a waterproof beach detector is fantastic!
Posted By: PlacerLode on May 18, 2012 12:58am
Hi Nenad
From a long time toggles and knobs Minelab beach and shallow water hunting guy like myself, the transition to a screened FBS detector was smooth.
Everything you could possibly need to start searching is in the well thought out control panel, you can also make any necessary adjustments to the mode or pattern you are using quite easily. This is a real bonus when you are shallow water hunting, as is the extra target information available now such as target trace, FE & CO numbers and cursor placement on the detect screen.
The more information you have about a possible target the more you can make the utmost use of your metal detecting time. In my opinion the new CTX 3030 is the perfect metal detector for the discriminating beach and shallow water hunter.
Posted By: Gary Drayton on May 18, 2012 10:52am
Hi Ned
In my profile photo I am wading using my Sovereign GT with non waterproof headphones, in the blog photo I am using the fully submersible waterproof Koss for the CTX 3030. The CTX 3030 is fully at home in both salt and fresh water. I am a beach and salt water hunter and like I mentioned in the blog this metal detector does not miss a beat when you go from the beach into the ocean and back so hunting in the fresh water will not be a problem.
Good luck with the gold doubloon chasing!
Cheers Gary
Posted By: Gary Drayton on May 18, 2012 11:12am
Well judging by his book, "The Ultimate Sovereign Beach Hunter's Guide", I trust that Gary T. Drayton knows what makes for a great beach hunting machine!

I own an old Minelab XS-2 Pro and absolutely love it on the beach (and on land too), but I really want a CTX 3030! I just bought an E-TRAC and really am amazed at how well thought out it is and how it found gold the first week I had it (see Success Story "In the Right Spot".

I'm only hoping that after getting used to the CTX 3030 and its' waterproof control box, I won't accidentally dunk my Sovereign (or worse, my E-TRAC) in the water!! Also a bit concerned about scratching that beautiful screen the CTX 3030 has in the sand.
Posted By: MickTwin on May 19, 2012 07:42am
Hi Mick
I read your success story and congratulations on the cool indian ring that you found with your E-TRAC. The great thing about the CTX 3030 is that you can now leave the wet sanding and shallow water hunting to the new water proof CTX 3030. Your Sovereign and ETRAC are just too valuable to risk getting hit by a rogue wave or dropped in the water. Adding a CTX 3030 is the logical answer for the avid beach hunter that will still use their long time favorite Minelabs for various beach hunting applications.
I too am in a similar situation, I love my Excalibur and Sovereign GT and adding the CTX 3030 is the logical thing to do. I have always said that to do the best job you need the best tools for the job and Minelab certainly makes the best tools for the job of beach and shallow water hunting.
The CTX 3030 is a well balanced and designed metal detector, it has a strong sturdy carbon fibre shaft, tough control box, hand grip and display screen mount. I have been using my CTX 3030 with the display screen fully submerged in the ocean in some pretty rough surf and dropped sand on my screen during the scooping and shucking process of target retrieval.
This has not caused any scratches on the display screen, it is one of the things that I check out after returning home from the beach and rinsing the CTX 3030 off with clean fresh water. You can help prevent scratches by avoiding rubbing sand off the screen, simply dunk the display screen in the water. Owning a CTX 3030 means never having to worry about dropping your investment in the water or ever having to read the rain forecast before going beach hunting again!
Happy hunting !
Posted By: Gary Drayton on May 21, 2012 11:43am
Dear Mick
I have an E-TRAC but wants to buy a CTX 3030, not so much for beach searching but more for searching in rivers near old cultural places. Do you have any experiance in that type of detecting? I understand you have written a book about beach searching. Will that cover the problems when the water is dirty and you cant see your objects?
many greeting Erik Denmark
Posted By: on May 27, 2012 07:43pm
Hi Erik
I have spent a lot of time searching in and around rivers in England, mainly using the Excalibur and a chest mounted Sovereign GT. The shallow water hunting techniques in my beach and water hunting books also apply to river hunting, the target retrieval methods are good no matter what the visibility of the water is. I have been using the CTX 3030 is some pretty rough surf in the US and finding gold and silver jewelry when seeing the bottom is impossible. Check out the gold chain I found a few days ago on the Minelab Success stories, it was found in rough murky water in a driving rain storm! The pinpoint button on the back of the CTX 3030 hand grip makes it easy to pinpoint targets with a press of a finger, turning the CTX 3030 into a non motion metal detector when activated.
In rivers I would pinpoint the target the same as I would do in the ocean by placing the toe of my foot directly behind the search coil after the target is pinpointed. Move the search coil to one side and push the scoop into the river bed in front of your foot. Scoop, recheck the area in front of your foot and if there is no signal the target is probably in your scoop.
Try not to move the guide foot until you have successfully recovered the target. Recovering targets in the water is much harder work than on the beach because you are dealing with the water current. With all the extra target information available on the CTX 3030 detect screen and the pinpoint option, recovering targets in murky water has never been easier.
For the areas you intend to search I know the CTX 3030 will be an excellent purchase.
Good luck
Posted By: Gary Drayton on May 28, 2012 10:36am
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